Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, “A Man Alive”

ThaoandtheGetDownStayDown-2016AManAliveThao & the Get Down Stay Down
A Man Alive
RIBBON MUSIC
6/10

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down’s fourth studio effort finds Ms. Thao Nguyen and her cohort exploring their sound with messy guitar tunings, loops galore, and other offbeat manipulations of sound. She has close friend—and tUnE-yArDs mastermind—Merrill Garbus to thank in part for the musical expansion, but Nguyen’s decision to revolve the album around her relationship (or lack thereof) with her dad was importantly all hers. A chilling video for the album’s opening track, “Astonished Man,” features a bloodied Nguyen with a machete stuck in her head. But the video’s violent imagery is a red herring, so to speak—the album is actually a blissful ride that reduces anxiety instead of upping it. With some infectious dance moments in the mix, A Man Alive is a complex journey into the soul with life-affirming side effects.

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